Some trucks are built for hobbyists and some for workers, but how many are built for both? This is a question that we’ve been asking ourselves while examining the latest pickup trucks this year, and we think we’ve got our answer. The 2022 Nissan Frontier aims to be the ultimate pickup truck for many truck drivers with plenty of power and ample towing capabilities, and it’s even off-road capable. We believe that you should take a trip to your local Nissan Frontier dealership to take one for a test drive, but we’ll explain why that is. Starting at an MSRP of $27,840, the new Frontier competes with other midsize trucks like the GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, and the Toyota Tacoma, to name a few.
Ultimately, what differentiates this truck from the other midsize options on the market is exceptional performance for the price. If you’re shopping for a truck, why would you choose the less powerful truck for a relatively similar price? You wouldn’t, and when you’re planning on towing, off-roading, or both, you don’t want to get the weaker vehicle. While competitors like the GMC Canyon and Toyota Tacoma come standard with underpowered four-cylinder engines, the 2022 Frontier cuts straight to the chase with a powerful V6 standard. Across the board, Nissan provides truck owners with the performance and features they want without asking them to pay more for it.
Here’s the thing, when you purchase the base model Frontier, it outperforms the base engine in any midsize truck on sale today. This means that if you want comparative performance with most competing models, then you’ll have to pay more. At that point, you’ll be either paying the same as the Frontier or most likely will be spending more. There’s one engine for the Frontier, the same as last year with the same performance, which for reference is a 3.8L V6 that has 310 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque.
Like last year, the V6 comes paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and the EPA-estimated ratings of 18 mpg city and 24 highway aren’t too bad for a vehicle of this size and performance profile. Let’s compare this to the base engine inside of the 2022 GMC Canyon, which is a small 2.5L I-4 that has just 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. This is 33.5% less horsepower than the Frontier, and the towing capacity the Canyon offers suffers even more. With the V6 inside of the 2022 Frontier, you’ll have a towing capacity of 6,720 lbs, but the 2022 Canyon’s base engine can only tow 3,500 lbs, which is nearly 48% less than the base Frontier. The 2022 Chevy Colorado utilizes the same three powertrains as the Canyon, and that means the base engine is the same lowly 2.5L I-4.
Let’s bring another model with a standard V6 into the comparison – the 2022 Honda Ridgeline with its 3.5L engine. At 3.5L, it’s not too much smaller than the 3.8L V6 inside of the Frontier, but this also means that the Ridgeline can’t live up to the same tasks as Nissan’s truck. Towing capacity caps out at 5,000 lbs for the Ridgeline, which is fine on the surface but is still over 25% less towing capacity than the Frontier. Worst of all, the 2022 Ridgeline doesn’t have any other engines that you can swap this out for, and this has the opposite effect as it does with the 2022 Frontier. That’s because the 3.8L V6, with its exceptional performance, doesn’t leave much to be desired; it does a great job. However, there’s this underlying feeling that the Ridgeline could have been far more, but Honda has questionably limited the potential of this model.
Towing isn’t the only thing that the 2022 Frontier does better than its competitors; it’s also off-road-oriented. There are a few key aspects of the vehicle that helps it become far more versatile off the beaten path, one of which is the aforementioned V6 engine. Another feature that correlates to exceptional off-roading performance is a 4×4 system, and the Frontier can change drive modes on the fly with an integrated knob. Whether you want rear-wheel drive or you’re climbing up and driving down a hill, there are drive modes that are made for most scenarios. One of the modes on this system that sets it apart from your average pickup truck is the Off-Road Mode.
Of course, a vehicle is only usable for off-roading if you can do it safely and avoid cosmetic damage to your exterior. Nissan considered this when designing the Frontier, and the result includes features such as a flexible suspension that can instantly adjust to inclines and uneven trails. Another important design decision that any manufacturer has to make when designing an off-roading vehicle is ground clearance. Without proper ground clearance, the bottom of your vehicle will inevitably scrape on rocks. Another way that your exterior is protected is with integrated mud flaps in front of your off-roading tires.
The 2022 Frontier is also smart when it comes to off-roading, and what we mean by this is there’s integrated tech that’s designed to make traversing the trails safer than ever. Inside of your Frontier, there’s an infotainment center with a large screen, either eight or nine inches diagonally, and there are cameras located outside of your vehicle. The camera feeds will display on the infotainment center, and they will give you a clear view of the trail in front of you and the side of your vehicle. There are even assistive indicators that show up, so you’ll have a heads up before you potentially hit anything.
Get This One
The way I see it, there are three types of drivers who would purchase the 2022 Frontier. There’s the crowd that wants to perform light towing, whether it’s for a business or just bringing along a cargo trailer for an extended vacation. Next, there are the drivers who want something with more grunt and size than your typical off-roading vehicle, such as one of the many off-road-oriented SUVs on the market. Lastly, there’s the driver who wants to use their truck for both, and we can confidently say you’ve found the right truck. We believe that other manufacturers are likely to take inspiration from the Frontier, especially if it proves to be as worthy a contender as it is cracking up to be.
As we discussed, if you’re somebody who only wants the base model, but you don’t want a base model-like set of features, then your best bet is to get the 2022 Frontier. Performance, towing, and off-roading, the base Frontier can do all three of these things better than its competition, and that’s no small accomplishment. Our final answer is that if you’re in the market for a brand new pickup truck, you don’t want to spend a fortune, and you generally want to have fun with your vehicle, then the 2022 Frontier is perhaps the finest selection that you can make. Make sure to visit your local Nissan dealer to see one in person and take it for a spin.